NexPrise automates business processes

Aiming to help companies automate business processes to drive external collaboration, NexPrise Inc. on Tuesday plans to enhance its nProcess Platform for development and unveil 25 out-of-the-box applications for the manufacturing industry.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based NexPrise is trumpeting quick ROI as the primary pay-off for deploying its set of applications, which represent specific business processes such as "engineering change notice" common to industries such as aerospace, automotive, and defense. The goal is to eliminate traditional paper-based systems, streamline processes between partners and suppliers, and integrate with back-end systems, company officials said.

"We're providing applications that allow the sharing of information between partners," said Ted Drysdale, CEO and president at NexPrise. "We eliminate the need for FedExing, for example, and reduce cycle time and give companies better control over a project."

The nProcess platform, which sits below the application layer, is comprised of a set of authoring studios that enable custom development of business process-related applications and Web services. The studios automatically generate required Java code, database calls, and other functions, leaving users to zero in on developing the business logic, officials said.

NexPrise's recent purchase of InfoPrise provides the technology that fuels the platform's XML-based integration with legacy systems. InfoPrise also brings to the table the graphical workflow tool and roles-based user interface that customizes data presentation depending on who is requesting it, officials said.

The collaborative platform is based on a proprietary security model developed as part of a project for Lockheed and DARVA when NexPrise launched in 1997. The company offers its applications on a hosted basis, which accounts for about 80 percent of its customer base. The other 20 percent buy the nProcess platform and applications outright. NexPrise charges on a per-seat, per-month subscription model for the use of its applications.

New features in nProcess include object definition and mapping for business and data models; roles-based user interfaces; graphical workflow tool for authoring both system-to-system and human interactions; tools for creating templates and forms; legacy integrations with applications and data sources including Oracle Corp., MatrixOne Inc., Metaphase Corp., SAP AG, Microsoft Access, SQL databases, ODBC databases, and a variety of mainframe interfaces; integration with Microsoft desktop applications such as Office and Excel; and enhanced run-time services.

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